PPP and MQM agree to thrash out differences
KARACHI: The People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement left little doubt whatsoever that they had kept channels of communication open when Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad called on President Asif Zardari in Lahore and the interior minister met Altaf Hussain in London on Saturday.
“The two parties have decided to begin a dialogue on `all discordant issues’ at the core committee level,” a source said after the London meeting between Rehman Malik and the Muttahida supremo.
Although the MQM parted ways with the PPP last month and opted to sit on opposition benches in the assemblies, the decision taken at the meeting in London indicated that the two parties had not yet reached a point of no return.
Although sources said nothing about the ‘discordant issues’, it is believed that the repeal of the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 and the revival of the local government system of 1979 would figure in negotiations between the two parties.
According to an MQM press release, Interior Minister Rehman Malik called on Mr Hussain and discussed the overall political situation in the country. The meeting lasted three hours.
Mr Malik delivered a message from President Zardari to Altaf Hussain that although the MQM and the PPP were no longer in a political alliance, the relations forged over the past five years had not ended.
The MQM chief said “old relations will continue in the larger interest of the country”, particularly for promoting peace and stability in Sindh.
He said the MQM believed in retaining relationships with all democratic forces in the country, including the PPP.
The press release said the meeting decided that the core committees of the two parties would restart dialogue to thrash out their differences.
It was also decided that the two parties would contest general election individually, but there could be a possibility of adjustment on certain seats.
Mr Malik praised the role of the MQM chief for strengthening of democracy, saying the PPP-led government could not have completed its five-year term had Mr Hussain not extended his support.
Our reporter in Lahore adds: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House on Saturday.
The two leaders discussed the resignations of the MQM’s federal provincial ministers. The president reportedly asked the governor to persuade his party (MQM) to return to the treasury benches.
They also discussed the caretaker set-up in Sindh and prospects for cooperation between the PPP and the Muttahida.